Personal Injury

Road Accident Claim Changes to Go Ahead from May

Estimated read time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, March 01, 2021

From 31 May 2021, the way most road traffic accident claims are processed will change.

The government is introducing a new system to process road accident claims. Known as the ‘whiplash reforms’, the changes are part of the Civil Liability Act 2018.

They are intended to “reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by tackling the continuing high number and cost of whiplash claims”.

But the reforms will have a significant impact on how people injured in road accidents will process claims and how much they will receive for their injuries.

What are the reforms?

The Civil Liability Act 2018 has been introduced to reduce the number of claims made for road accident personal injuries and to cut down the amount of compensation you can receive for this kind of injury.

Any road injury claim that will result in compensation of under £5,000 will now have to be processed through an online portal – but you’ll have to do that on your own, without the help of a personal injury solicitor.

The portal has seen multiple delays to its introduction, but the government insists it will finally go live on the 2021 Spring bank holiday.

The changes will mean that compensation will be based on injury duration, rather than severity. It will see a whiplash injury lasting up to three months resulting in compensation of £240, a much lower amount than the average £1,800 you could currently claim.

This will increase incrementally until a duration of up to 24 months, which could see £4,215.

Why are the reforms being introduced?

The government has expressed concern over the number of road accidents causing personal injuries that happen in the UK.

It explained that “the volume of road traffic accident-related personal injury claims has grown to be around fifty per cent higher than 10 years ago (520,000 claims registered in 2006/07 compared with 780,000 in 2016/17)”.

The government also said that the amount of compensation paid to people for these claims is “out of proportion to the level of injury suffered, and that it intended to introduce measures to disincentivise minor, exaggerated and fraudulent claims”.

To cut down these sorts of claims and to reduce car insurance premiums, it decided to implement the changes that are now coming into force.

Other claims – including accident at work and medical negligence – won’t be affected by the reforms, so you’ll still be able to get legal guidance and help after those incidents.

The reforms will not cover accidents involving children, people who don’t have the capacity to claim for themselves or vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists and mobility scooter or wheelchair users.

What do I have to do?

Until 31 May 2021, any claim will proceed as normal. That means if you submit a claim now, it will be processed according to current rules.

From that date, though, you will have to access the online portal yourself. Legal costs will no longer be recoverable. When you submit your claim, you will also have to state whether you expect to recover more or less than £5,000 in damages.

A medical report will also be necessary when making a whiplash claim. This will usually be a fixed cost report arranged through the MedCo portal.

We recently ran a poll that found 82% of respondents would not feel comfortable managing a claim themselves.

That's why First4Lawyers will still be here to provide guidance on making these claims. We remain committed to helping innocent accident victims get the justice they’re entitled to and we’ll continue to help how we can.

Managing director Qamar Anwar has previously said: “One thing the reforms will not do is stop people being injured. Access to justice is core to our work and we want to ensure that consumers can continue to find lawyers to represent them.”

If you’ve suffered from whiplash or any other road accident injury, get in touch to find out how we can help you. Just give us a call or start your claim online and our friendly team will take it from there.

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